The Bible on Humility Pt. 1
By Pastor J.D. Link
Jam 4:6-10 ….Wherefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Several things to note on these verses: 1. God resists the prideful. 2. God gives grace to the humble, and lifts up (exalts) the humble (vs. 6,10). 3. If we submit to God and draw near to God, He will draw near to us. 4. If we resist the devil, he will flee from us. 5. Sinners need to cleanse their hands; purify their hearts; be afflicted; mourn; weep; their laughter turned to mourning and their joy into heaviness.
Does this mean God wants His children to be sad and depressed? No. Notice it is addressing sinners. Sinners reject God’s ways, and laugh their way right into Hell. It is their carnal and false joy that should be turned into mournful repentance. However, once you have truly repented and given your heart to Jesus, you can rejoice in truth.
John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, said, “He that is down needs fear no fall; He that is low no pride; He that is humble ever shall have God to be his guide.” Humble means: meek, lowly, of low degree, modest, unassuming, walking in humility. Some antonyms to humble are: conceited, arrogant, haughty, pretentious, prideful. C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self”. Watchman Nee once said, “Lowliness is not looking down on one’s self; rather, it is not looking at one’s self at all.”
Meekness (humility) is something we are to seek after, follow after, pursue (Zep 2:3, 1Tim 6:11). It doesn’t come naturally. The flesh nature is automatically prideful, and it will remain that way if humility is not sought for. So, why should we seek humility?
The meek are blessed and will inherit the earth (Mt 5:5). The meek will delight themselves in the abundance of peace (Ps 37:11). No peace in your life? Perhaps take a look at the pride situation. The meek shall be satisfied (Ps 22:26). Prideful people are never satisfied, while humble people are thankful and content. The meek will be taught the ways of God (Ps 25:9). A prideful person cannot be taught. The humble have a teachable spirit. The Lord lifts up the meek, but He casts down the wicked (Ps 147:6). The lower you make yourself, the higher Jesus lifts you. The higher you make yourself, the lower and further you are from Him.
The meek increase their joy in the Lord (Isa 29:19). If you lack in joy, check your walk of humility. Pride brings strife, envy, hatred – and all kinds of joy-robbing fruit. The world cares about outward appearance (clothes, style, looks, houses, cars, status, money, fame, etc.), but what is of great price in God’s sight is a meek and quiet spirit (1Pt 3:4). This is what is important to Him.
God will beautify the meek with salvation (Ps 149:4). In fact, the humble is who Jesus came to preach the Gospel to (Isa 61:1). Why? Because if you’re not humble, you’ll never receive the Gospel. Jesus said it’s the sick that need a physician, not the well. However, the Bible also says there are none well! All are sick with sin. Everyone needs a cure. All need a savior, and the only savior is Jesus (Mk 2:17, Rom 3:10, Act 4:12).
“Our opinion of ourselves should be lower than that of others; for we have a better acquaintance with our imperfections” – Thomas a Kempis. Most people only know the outside of a person. What they present. Only God knows the heart. God knows you better than anyone, and you know you better than anyone else but God. Humility is easier to walk in, if we acknowledge first the beam that is in our eye, so that we may see to get the speck from our brother’s eye (Mt 7:3-5). Like the Apostle Paul, though there was hardly a Saint like him, yet he considered himself the least of the Apostles and the chief of sinners (1Cor 15:9, 1Tim 1:15). True humility is not hating yourself; but rather, acknowledging everything Jesus is, and who we are in Him. It is giving him all glory. It is estimating our worth and value based on who He is and what He has done, verses who we are in ourselves and what we have done. Selah.
The Bible on Humility Pt. 2
By Pastor J.D. Link
Jam 4:6 & 10 ….Wherefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Last week we learned that humility is something we are to seek, pursue and follow after. We learned that there are many promises and blessings associated with being humble, such as: They will be blessed and will inherit the earth; they will delight themselves in the abundance of peace; they shall be satisfied; they will be taught the ways of God ; they shall be lifted up; they shall increase their joy in the Lord; they shall be clothed with salvation. We saw that humility is of great value in God’s eyes, and that, like the Apostle Paul, we should count ourselves the least of saints and the chief of sinners, compared to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Another benefit of humility is answered prayer. God hears the prayer of the humble (2Chr 7:14, 34:27). He doesn’t forget their cry (Ps 9:12). He causes His ears to hear their desire (Ps 10:17). He doesn’t hear the prayers of the prideful. A prideful person may go through the “ceremony” of prayer, but he is really just praying to himself, and not to God (Lk 18:11-14).
God exalts the humble (Prv 29:23, Mt 23:12). Those that are greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, are those who humble themselves as a little child (Mt 18:4). Jonathan Edwards, the great revivalist preacher during the First Great Awakening in the 1700’s, said, “Nothing sets a person so much out of the Devil’s reach than humility.” When we walk in pride, we scoot closer to the Devil and further from Jesus. If we persist in our pride, pretty soon we’ll get close enough to Satan for him to get us by the ear and drag us around; and now we’re captives. The good news is, that if we will repent and humble ourselves, he has to let us go – and then we can get back walking close to Jesus once again.
God dwells with those of a contrite heart and humble spirit (Isa 57:15). He revives them. He revives situations in their lives, even things that may seem hopeless. When we humble ourselves and pray for restoration, He can do miracles in marriages, families, friendships, business relations, church relations, etc.. Humility is a major pathway to victory.
Thomas Watson once said, “The right manner of growth is to grow less in one’s own eyes.” Like John the Baptist, our heart’s desire should be that Jesus increase, and we decrease (Jn 3:30). We have come to a wonderful place – a place of maturity – when we truly only care about Jesus receiving glory, and not we ourselves.
May we not be like Pharaoh, whom God asked, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” (Ex 10:3). Pride will destroy us. Pride will cloud our vision, corrupt our thinking and make us do some really stupid things. Pharaoh is a perfect example. His refusal to humble himself nearly destroyed his country; it costs the lives of multitudes of his people; cost the life of his own son; cost the lives of his army; and cost him his own life, as well.
We are to be clothed with humility, and realize that when we humble ourselves, God will exalt us in due time (1Pt 5:5-6). Notice, IN DUE TIME. Just because you humble yourself for one day, doesn’t mean all the benefits of humility are going to be dumped in your lap instantly. Humility is a lifestyle. It’s perpetual. It’s something we are to practice everyday; and when we stumble and get into pride, we are to repent and get back into humility asap. This is when God’s exalting will take place. To some degree, the exaltation of God for the humble will not even be until Jesus’ second coming. However, we assured that it will be.
Men often seek honor, but not humility. Yet, in God’s Kingdom, humility comes before honor (Prv 15:33, 18:12). We should not seek honor, but rather, humility. Then, when we walk in humility, honor will come. That honor may at times come from man, but for certain it will be from God – and that is what truly matters. A common pursuit of man is riches, honor and life. However, they often go about it in a carnal way. They lie, cheat, steal, deceive, use people, back-stab, suck-up (and a whole host of other things), in order to climb the ladder of success. However, if we will simply walk in humility and fear God, He will add these things to us (Prv 22:4, Mt 6:33).
Let God exalt you. Turn loose of both reigns. If you hold onto one, you may no longer be going the wrong way, but now you’re just turning circles. Let go of both, and let God lead your life. Let Him make you a success. Let Him promote you. Let Him place you when and where He pleases. Then, when you are successful, you won’t have all the regrets, baggage, and wake of destruction behind you. You will have done it right. You will have done it God’s way – and that is where true blessing is. God cares about the means as well as the end. Selah.
The Bible on Humility Part 3
By Pastor J.D. Link
Jas 4:6, 10 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” This will be our third and final lesson on the subject of humility. For the sake of space, I will not review the last two weeks, but will get right to this week’s points.
A Biblical truth concerning humility is that it is a frame of mind (Act 20:19, Col 3:12). It is a matter of the heart. We are to be of a humble spirit (Prv 16:19). We are in “humility of mind” to esteem others better than ourselves (Philp 2:3). There are entire sections in book stores on self-esteem, but we are not to esteem ourselves. We are to esteem Christ in us (Philm 1:6, Col 1:27), and esteem others before us. “Self” is to be crucified, not held in honor (Gal 5:24). In me (in my flesh) dwells no good thing (Rom 7:18); but in Christ, I am the very righteousness of God (2Cor 5:21). This is genuine humility.
Moses is a great example of humility (Num 12:3). Often times, when complained against, he fell on his face before God and prayed for the very people who were against him. This is what Jesus taught us to do (Mt 5:44). This is a tall order, and impossible to do in the flesh. However, by the grace and indwelling Spirit of God, we can practice such humility. Jesus Himself was very humble (Mt 11:29, 21:5), and taught us to be the same way (Mt 18:4). Richard Baxter said, “It is a contradiction to be a Christian and not humble.”
Being humble does not mean we don’t address issues in life with the truth (1Cor 4:21). Some ignorantly take on the attitude of “I’m too humble to address an issue, for who am I?” You’re a Christian. You speak truth, because it is truth – not because you perfectly walk in every aspect of God’s Word. A lot of parents make this mistake today, thinking that because they lived recklessly and foolishly, they have no right to discipline and train up their children in righteousness. Hogwash! Be the generation that makes the change, and start living for Jesus! As a parent, you have the God-given authority and mandate to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Don’t lie about your past, but don’t be a slave to it, either. Love your child enough to train them in God’s ways.
There is genuine humility, and there is false humility (Col 2:18-23). False humility is merely acting. It is going through religious and pious looking rituals, when in fact your heart is far from God. Like the Pharisees, you make grand efforts to practice outward, seen acts of humility; but it’s only to be seen of men, and not of God. Genuine humility cares about the things of God. It doesn’t care about what man thinks. It does what it does to please Jesus, whether men notice it or not. We can fool men, but we cannot fool God, who sees our very heart and motives.
There is no law against humility (Gal 5:23), because it is a fruit of the indwelling Spirit of God. We are to receive God’s Word with humility (Jam 1:21). We are to “receive with humility the engrafted word”, which is able to save our souls. When we read or hear God’s Word preached, do we humbly receive it as God speaking to us (1Thess 2:13) – or do we resist and ignore it? Or perhaps get angry? These negative reactions will not benefit us. However, if we humbly accept it, it has the power to save our souls.
We are to do good works with humility (Jam 3:13). What does this mean? It means we are not to “toot our own horn” when we do good works. We are to do what we do as unto the Lord (Col 3:17). When we do good works in humility, we don’t try to garner attention through them, but rather, we let not our left hand know what our right hand is doing (Mt 6:3).
Finally, we are to minister (serve) with humility (1Pt 3:15, Gal 1:6, Titus 3:2). We must understand, that those who oppose God and His Word, ultimately oppose themselves (2Tim 2:25).
As if someone was punching themselves in the face, we would humbly grab hold of their arm and explain to them why they shouldn’t do that. We do it, not to control them, but because we love them. However, if they persist in “opposing themselves”, then there is not much we can do, but pray for them to see the harm in their actions.
All the biblical facts concerning humility that we have gone over the past three weeks will not profit us, unless we yield to the Spirit and walk in them. I pray we would search the Scriptures referenced, and allow the incorruptible seed of God’s Word to take root in our hearts; and thereby produce a harvest of humility in our lives. Selah.